Snapdragon Stories October 18

Industry players, such as Microsoft, have arrived in Hong Kong this week for Qualcomm’s 4G/5G Summit, an annual event to strategize and discuss trends and technology developments.

One of the topics of surefire interest revolves around Microsoft’s upcoming ARM-powered Windows 10 laptop. In a glimpse into its battery life potential, Microsoft’s Principal Group Program Manager for Connectivity Partners, Pete Bernard, told Trusted Reviews that he only needs to “charge it every couple of days or so.”

Having multi-day battery life on a real, full-featured laptop would indeed, as Bernard puts it, be a game-changing innovation. Yet, when you consider how much better Apple’s custom-designed silicon is compared to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chips, the possibilities for an ARM-powered Mac become all the more desirable. expand full story

Snapdragon Stories February 25, 2014

Apple wins ‘best mobile tablet’ award at Mobile World Congress in absentia

The Global Mobile Awards today revealed their verdicts on their annual mobile device awards. As usual, like all industry conferences, Apple did not attend MWC. Regardless, in their absence, they were still given the ‘Best Mobile Tablet’ award for the iPad Air.

Snapdragon Stories December 17, 2013

Qualcomm employee said Apple’s 64-bit A7 chip was Spinal Tap moment

If Qualcomm seemed rather taken by surprise by Apple’s use of a 64-bit chip in a smartphone, first dismissing it as a gimmick and then hastily backtracking and announcing it would be making 64-bit smartphone chips itself, that’s because it was, says Dan Lyons in a nicely-written piece on HubSpot. The piece includes what has to be a strong contender for tech quote of the year:

The 64-bit Apple chip hit us in the gut,” says the Qualcomm employee. “Not just us, but everyone, really. We were slack-jawed, and stunned, and unprepared. It’s not that big a performance difference right now, since most current software won’t benefit. But in Spinal Tap terms it’s like, 32 more, and now everyone wants it.”

The reference is to a scene in the 1984 mockumentary This is Spinal Tap where the band proudly shows an amp that goes all the way up to 11, explaining that “it’s one louder.” What Qualcomm missed was that while 64-bit smartphone chips may be of limited immediate value, the A7 made for a compelling marketing sell, leaving other companies scrabbling to catch up.

Qualcomm has just created a 64-bit version of its Snapdragon SOC and expects to see it appearing in Android phones sometime in the second half of next year.

Snapdragon Stories March 8, 2013

The ‘Apple to use Qualcomm CPUs in low cost iPhone’ rumor circles around the globe

In January, anonymous U.S. analysts at Detwiler Fenton postulated that Apple could save a few bucks on a low-cost iPhone by using a Qualcomm Snapdragon integrated processors that place the CPU and wireless processors on the same die.

“It is likely that the work with QCOM is being driven by AAPL’s concern regarding maintaining gross margins as well as the need to differentiate the product by performance,” the research firm (which shuns putting the spotlight on particular analysts) said in a research note. “AAPL would not want a value priced iPhone to offer the same kind of graphics and video support, processing power etc. that its premium priced device would, therefore a less powerful lower-end Snapdragon integrated solution would help segment the product.”

At the time, the idea of Apple using Qualcomm processors and not its own perhaps older-model processors seemed preposterous. Sure, Apple uses Qualcomm 4G radio chips extensively, but its own processors now power the ‘free with a plan iPhone 4’ and the prospect of reworking the OS to work with a new off-the-shelf Qualcomm processor instead of in-house solutions still seems extremely unlikely.

The rumor seemed to have died, but the ‘iPhone Math’ translation experts at the China Times republished it. The rumor was then picked up by Macotakara in Japan, and is now back stateside, but it is no more likely this time around.

In fact, the original analysts —with the statement  “AAPL would not want a value priced iPhone to offer the same kind of graphics and video support, processing power etc. that its premium priced device would, therefore a less powerful lower-end Snapdragon integrated solution would help segment the product”— seemed to have no knowledge of Apple’s wide range of A4, A5, and A6 processors or wide range of iPhones in which those processors currently reside.

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